The day started with clear blue skies and ended exactly the same way. This writer’s first trip down the silvery Tweed and the conditions were as perfect as they could be which was reassuring after some of the ‘horror stories’ that had been passed around from previous outings!

Our intrepid ‘double crew’ all met up at the start, marvelling at all the skiffs that kept arriving and it began to dawn on us that this was going to be quite a flotilla heading downstream. Thirteen in all and one very jauntily dressed up as a giant fish..maybe we’ll need to think about fancy dress next year?

So off we went, stowaway on board, soaking up the sun and wishing she’d brought her hipflask with her. The ‘Fish boat’ came along aside with five bearded and ‘sou’westered’ rowers..what japes!! One of our crew reminded us that this wasn’t a race ‘but let’s get to Paxton House first’!! Cox Cap’n Red got herself into a comfy sunbathing position and gave out the odd instruction, but only if we fancied..all very chilled.


Under the three bridges and about an hour later we were pulling up (yes, first to arrive!) on the shingly, shiny banks of the Tweed at Paxton. All the other skiffs moored up and there were many happy groups of folk along the riverbank.We dived into our picnics as though we hadn’t eaten for days and found the best positions to catch a few, surprisingly, warm rays. Dr Clare practised some eye-watering stretches (in prep for a course this week) but the rest of us lazed about, throwing in the occasional helpful comment..well, we thought they were helpful! And then a little wooden boat appeared, to add to the magical feel, and a toddler enjoyed what was probably his first time rowing with his Dad. With that as an example, lots of envious little people wanted a go, so three of our crew went out in Skiff ’Grace’ from Gosforth, up to the Chain Bridge..the little ones  oo’ing and ah’ing all the way! Rachael felt she was in a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

But the magical afternoon had to come to an end. The second crew got themselves ready and we waved them off. We decided to have some coffee and cake as consolation in the stunning surroundings of Paxton.  

What an absolutely perfect day..could not have been bettered.